Exciting time to be a baseball fan. With all of the drama and distractions in the sports world lately, it is refreshing to turn on the TV and watch a sport that is devoid (for the most part) of histrionics. In case you have been so caught up that you haven’t been paying much attention, here are a few things you should know:
Giancarlo Stanton: With just three games remaining, Stanton needs just one HR to join the elusive 60-HR-club. How elusive is this club? Well, there are only 5 players in MLB history that share the honor. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Three of those five players were alleged to have used performance-enhancing drugs, leaving just two that hold the honor untainted. Stanton’s 59 HRs are the most in the majors since 2001 when Barry Bonds hit 73. While the Marlins are eliminated from postseason contention, Marlins fans still have something to be excited about. The chance to witness history. The Marlins face the Braves at home for the next three games.
Aaron Judge: All Rise. The Yankees as a whole have been outstanding this year. The Baby Bombers have far surpassed expectations set for them before the season. Not since the late 90’s have I been more excited to watch a Yankee team. Bird, Gardner, Sanchez, Gray, Betances….the list goes on and on. However, all eyes are on the towering, 25-year-old outfielder. The 6’5 Phenom may go down as having the best rookie year of all time. After suffering from a mini-slump after the All-Star break that had many jumping to say his season thus far had been a fluke, Judge rebounded to silence his critics. Humble as he is talented, Judge is high up the ranks as one of the best players in the majors. Besides putting on the show of the ages at the HR derby, Judge has 51 HRs, 112 RBI’s, 9 stolen bases and 126 runs scored on the year. In just the last 14 games, Judge is batting .391 with 10 home runs. It is an exciting time to root for the men in pinstripes, and I have no doubt the Yankees will make sure Judge retires in that uniform.
AL East: Red Sox (Yankees could catch them, but unlikely)
AL Central: Indians ( a whopping 17 games ahead of the 2nd place Twins in that division)
AL West: Astros (21 game advantage)
AL Wild Card: Yankees and Twins
NL East: Nationals
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Arizona and Rockies or Brewers